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You Don't Want to Know

Don't watch.
Fearful things hide in the
shadows of the streets, thrown
by the yellow lamps and
harsh neon signs. Turn
away. Dare not stare. Keep
your eyes on the ground before
your feet. Evil reigns in
the depths of the night.
Sadness lingers, the helpless
suffer, insanity stalks the
dirt-crusted walls. Don't
look. Don't look. It has
nothing to do with you. You're
too busy. Cardboard
boxes substitute for homes,
hunger and rags replace
possessions, loneliness
and despair are good
and faithful friends.
Companion of darkness,
happiness is in a bottle
or a plastic bag. Death
is freedom and release.
Don't watch. Turn
your eyes away. That
is not your world. It's
none of your business.
Whose business is it?
Not mine. Not mine.
Turn your gaze away.
Don't look. Don't look.

Comments: Free verse is usually not my style, but this piece seemed to just write itself, growing out of a book I was reading and boredom with algebra homework on May 25, 2000. I wrote it on the edge of the scrap paper I used for algebra problems, which accounts for the bizzare formatting, and it seems to belong that way, so I just typed it up as written. I like this poem--it's different than most of my other works, and I think some of the images are quite good. But I can't read it without feeling troubled, as if I ought to be out there doing something. But what?

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